Christine Barro’s little jewel box is on every self-respecting stylist’s speed dial. That’s because she has a great eye for the avant-garde and champions lesser-known designers (she was the first retailer in the country to stock cult bag-maker Anya Hindmarch) and burgeoning Australian talents. Christine is all about accessories, so come here to find that special piece of jewelry or quirky handbag from such designers as Jamin Puech.
A local label making great strides is Claude Maus, whose new store is housed in a large industrial space to better show off the sexy, slightly androgynous men’s and women’s wear: butter-soft T-shirts perfect for layering, tartan skirts, mod-ish leather jackets, all perfectly suited to fashion-forward Melburnians.
Stop in at this lovely restored landmark building (the former General Post Office) to check out homegrown Australian fashion talent, such as master tailor Akira Isogawa; Lisa Ho, whose party dresses bedeck many a socialite; Leona Edmiston (the antipodean answer to Diane von Furstenberg); and Zimmermann, two sisters whose sexy swimsuits are helping them carve out a global reputation.
The focus at this hip new shopping district on the scene is the street-level Albert Coates Lane, home to several must-see designers. The funky Cactus Jam has a great edit of cool international names, like Chloé and Matthew Williamson, but also stocks local success stories, such as Sass & Bide, while those looking for grown-up glamour with a disco edge head to Wayne Cooper, Australian fashion’s English-born bad boy.
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